Breastfeeding: Weaning During Pregnancy

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It’s actually pretty sad to write about weaning, as Grady is pretty close to being self-weaned due to my pregnancy, and I find it difficult to adjust to our changed relationship. He’s doing great though, and I’m finding comfort in knowing that this is on his terms, although I do sometimes feel guilty when I begin to think about what nursing would be like now if I hadn’t gotten pregnant. Would he still be nursing? I try to push those thoughts aside, because they don’t help and there’s nothing I can do to change how things are now.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on nursing during pregnancy and tandem nursing, and this book, Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond, that I borrowed from my local La Leche League group, has been great. The reason I borrowed the book, was that my plan was to nurse Grady through my pregnancy and then tandem nurse with him and the new baby. It’s funny how things don’t always go as planned! You really have no control over your milk supply when you are pregnant and nothing will change that. My supply decreased significantly around my 16th week of pregnancy when Grady was about 18 months old. This is a common occurence, as one study reported that 70 percent of mothers noted a decrease in milk supply by mid-pregnancy. I knew before I got pregnant that it would happen, but it was still devastating when it did. I immediately noticed a change in his sucking patterns. No more swallowing. He didn’t seem to care though and continued to nurse just as frequently as he was.

Right around the same time, he night-weaned all by himself. I definitely contribute this to the fact that there just wasn’t much milk left. Why get up at night when there’s nothing to snack on? It’s actually been quite enjoyable to be able to get a full nights sleep again! Over the next 2 months, he’s gradually brought himself down to nursing just briefly before his nap and before bedtime. And when I say briefly, it’s like 5 seconds. I’m not sure why I continue to let him do this. I think I’m holding out hope that colostrum will return in my 3rd trimester and he’ll want to nurse more again, thus fulfilling my plan to tandem nurse come June.

Tandem-Nursing-Symbol

Source: drmomma.org

So that’s where we are right now. I’m just letting him decide when and how long he nurses. If he decides tomorrow that he doesn’t want it anymore, than that will be okay.

Did you nurse while pregnant? How did it go? I’d love to hear your experiences!

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by The Slacker MomHappiness Redefined, and The Gnome’s Mom. To read more posts from the hop, click on the links below…..

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Comments

  1. I am 10 Weeks Pregnant & still Breastfeeding. But Hardly. It’s making me super sad that she isn’t nursing as much…she night weaned herself…and sometimes I feel sad that I can’t give her ALL of the Milk she wants, or that I want to give her. I am trying not to feel too guilty, because she is drinking Regular Milk & we are giving her a Brother/Sister! It’s a trade off, but I think she will appriciate it in the end. I think the emotional toll is more on us, than them…but who can really say for sure?! Smile, Jenny…enjoy your growing Family!!

    • Thanks so much for sharing! It sounds like our situations are pretty similar and it’s very relieving to know I’m not the only one going through this. :)

  2. Hurray for a full night’s sleep! I am now 23 weeks pregnant, and my almost 17 month old daughter has been sleeping through most nights now for a few weeks. I am finally used to not waking up at 3 a.m. She still nurses first thing in the morning and right before bed and not for very long, just like yours. It is bittersweet because just a couple of month ago, we were still going five times a day. I thought I would be more sad than I am, maybe because I know another one is coming. She seems just as happy drink her cup of cow’s milk, so it does help me not feel as guilty. I figure I’ll keep letting her nurse as long as she wants to even though she’s not getting a whole lot of milk from it because a big change is coming for her, and I am just super thankful that we were able to go as long as we did. without major issues. Maybe your little guy will want to pick it up again when the new baby’s born, or maybe nursing one full time again will be plenty for you! :)

    • Thanks for helping me see some positives out of this whole weaning thing! And Grady is the same as your daughter, he seems just as happy to drink his cows milk from his cup. It used to break my heart, but now when he goes to the fridge and signs “milk,” I’m starting to be okay with it! :)

  3. We are in the same boat! I am 13 weeks pregnant and nursing my 17 month old daughter. My milk supply has dropped significantly and I am heartbroken. A month or two ago we were still nursing a few times during the day and a few times during the night. Yesterday she went from 7am until 5pm without nursing at all. When we nurse at night she will sit up and sign “more” so we switch sides, then she sits up and signs “more” again and it makes me SO sad that she isn’t getting what she wants/needs. I knew there was a chance of this happening but a) we conceived quicker than we expected and b) i had hoped it wouldn’t happen. I desperately want to tandem nurse or at least get her further. I am sure that had I not gotten pregnant she wouldn’t be weaning/semi weaning. Sigh. I am sad. But I guess I just need to see how things go.

    • It’s tough, isn’t it? It’s taken me awhile to adjust to Grady’s self-weaning, but I know that it’s what he wants at this moment. When he asks to nurse I let him, and when I put him down for his nap or at bedtime, I always offer. Sometimes he says no and just pats the pillow, signaling for me to lay down with him instead, and I’m okay with that. Just do what you think is best for your daughter. Keep offering if that’s what you think she needs. Maybe you’ll keep her interested enough to still want to nurse when the new baby comes. That’s what I’m hoping for. :)

  4. I know exactly how you feel! Even before we got pregnant, I knew I would be sad if I sort of forced my daughter to quit nursing! She is 17 months old and hasn’t really been getting milk for awhile now but that does not stop her from wanting to nurse. I am 25 weeks pregnant, and I’m told that there is a strong possibility that I will start leaking milk in about 3 weeks or so, so if this happens, we will see what she does. She still loves to nurse but mostly plays and smiles at me when she is nursing. She nurses for comfort more than anything, and I don’t see her weaning completely, so most likely, we will be tandem nursing.

    I get tired of hearing from some people how I NEED to stop now before the baby comes, or how can I still nurse, it’s bad for the baby, or I might go into labor early, whatever their reasons are. I’ve done my research and I don’t feel like taking away something else my daughter is use to and loves because she is in for a huge change in a few months! She will lose out on some of her alone time with mommy, I don’t want to take away the things she loves most right now. Good luck! You can read my story on the link up too – Am I strong enough to wean?

    • I’ve heard that colostrum comes back in the 3rd trimester, too. Although I do believe it’s not much. I keep checking, but there’s none there yet! :)

      I honestly don’t tell many people that Grady is still nursing at 21 months or that I plan to tandem nurse. My close friends and family know, but I’m not out there broadcasting it. Except for here of course! :) My Dad has been the only one who’s actually told me that I should stop because Grady’s old enough to drink from a cup. I just told him that he knew nothing about breastfeeding and I didn’t care what he thought. No hard feelings, so everything’s good there, although I’m curious as to what he might think if Grady does decide to tandem nurse. :)

      Good luck!

  5. You shouldn’t feel guilty at all. He is doing this on his own terms and that is great! You should be so proud, 18 months is awesome! And you never know he could pick back up. :)

    I am currently 38 1/2 (yes that half counts lol) weeks pregnant and still nursing my 22 month old. I got pregnant by surprise when he was 14 months and I was so upset that he would wean before I was ready (emphasis on I). It was all I could think about in the early days. My milk went away sometime in the 2nd trimester and he still continued to nurse like nothing had happened. Sure he has cut down some but I attribute that to age more than anything. I got colostrum at about 22 weeks and he has been happily drinking that. He has occasionally said “Milk all gone” but I think it’s because he’s heard me say that too my husband. We plan to tandem nurse and I’ll be honest now that that time it is rapidly approaching I’m getting a little nervous. My son is such a boobie baby that I don’t know how well he will share. We talk about how sister will drink milk from Mommy too and that he will have to share and he says he will but who knows.

    Best of luck to you!

    • Thanks for sharing! I’m glad to hear that your colostrum came in so early! I’m at 26 weeks and no sign of it yet. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. Best of luck with your new baby! I’d love to hear how tandem nursing goes for you! :)

  6. I know those feelings all too well. I planned on tandem nursing too, and even bought the Adventures in Tandem Nursing book in preparation. Then we found out we were having twins. But I STILL planned on tandem nursing my not yet 2 year old if he wanted to continue nursing. I have to say I was probably more relieved than mournful when he self-weaned around the time I was about 16 weeks pregnant. I offered for about a week before I just dropped it and accepted that he was done. My milk supply had been virtually non-existent for several weeks and he was 21 months old by then. It was still sad knowing he wasn’t going to crawl up on my lap and curl up to nurse, reaching up to pat my shoulder or play with my hair anymore.

    • Thanks for sharing! I’m slowly starting to accept that he’s self-weaning. I still offer at naps and bedtime, and when he occasionally declines, it doesn’t break my heart anymore. I can see how you were relieved! I think it would have been pretty difficult to nurse 3!

  7. When I was pregnant with my second son, my oldest weaned seamlessly when I was 6 months pregnant. However, when I became pregnant with this baby, my youngest son was not ready to wean at all. I was ok with him nursing but it started to hurt and he became more rough as my milk supply decreased. It came to the point where I had to make the choice to wean him because I was in so much pain and barely producing milk. It was awful. I still feel guilty about it. He would just cry and put his head on my chest…I cried too. That was about 3 months ago. He is doing great now. He sometimes sticks his hand down my shirt but that’s normal =) I wish I could have nursed him for as long as he wanted but I am grateful that he was able to breast feed for 16+ months.

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